Pope has appointed Kokunre Agbontaen-Eghafona, a Nigerian professor, to the prestigious Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
Agbontaen-Eghafona was named as a member of the academy on Friday alongside two others including Mario Draghi, former European Central Bank chief, and Pedro Morandé Court, a professor emeritus at the Pontifical University of Chile.
The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences was established by Pope John Paul II in 1994, to help “offer the Church those elements which she can use in the development of her social doctrine, and reflects on the application of that doctrine in contemporary society”.
The think tank holds regular international symposiums on subjects of social concern such as human trafficking, modern slavery and debt relief, and produces reports which the pope can use to guide him on non-religious issues.
FROM UNIBEN BEST LECTURER TO POPE ADVISER
A professor of cultural anthropology, Agbontaen-Eghafona was born on 1 October 1959 and studied at the University of Benin (UNIBEN) where she obtained her undergraduate degree and later a master of arts in history.
She also obtained a master of science in archaeology and anthropology from the University of Ibadan (UI).
At the University of Benin, she lectured at the department of sociology and anthropology from 1992 to 2008 when she was made a professor.
She also served as the head of the department of sociology (2009-2013), director of part-time programs (2016) among other leadership roles.
Her profile at the academy states she won numerous awards as “best lecturer” and “excellent lecturer” at UNIBEN including: “Best Lecturer in Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, UNIBEN Award, 1999/2000; SOSSA (Social Science Students Association) Award for Excellent Lecturer – Students Relation and Exemplary Life Style in the Academia, June 2002; …
“Best Lecturer in Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Benin. Vice Chancellor’s Award 2006/2007; Best Lecturer in Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Benin. Vice Chancellor’s Award 2006/2007; SOSSA (Social Science Students Association) Award for Excellent Lecturer. September 2014.”
SDGs CHAMPION, CAMPAIGNER AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING
A sustainable development champion, she was responsible for sustainable development within the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network from 2012 to 2017.
She says her current scientific activities include measures to combat trafficking in women and girls in Benin City, Nigeria, and counter-trafficking initiatives in Nigeria.
Some of her research works are include “examination of the role of the family in the trafficking of girls and women in the Benin society (2008/2009); prevailing perception of trafficking, prevention, and anti-trafficking activities among communities in Edo State (2012);
“Why Benin City? An assessment of Edo State and Benin City endemic areas in trafficking in persons (2012). trauma healing for victims of human trafficking: the need for a post-trafficking psycho-social package in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria (2016-2018), and transnational remittances from human trafficking and the changing socioeconomic status of women in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria (2016-2019).”
Agbontaen-Eghafona is a member of various prestigious societies including the Archaeological Association of Nigeria; Nigerian Field Society; International Society for Benin Studies; Nigerian National Museum Society; West African Archaeological Association; Society for International Relations Awareness; Ethics Committee of College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin.